Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 18, 2006
Gala boosts retirement fund
Dinner draws 1,300 to boost fund for priests' pension
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
A gala dinner aimed at boosting the lagging resources of the Edmonton Archdiocesan Priests' Retirement Fund exceeded even its own high expectations for the $300-a-plate dinner on Sept. 9.
Some 1,300 people attended the dinner at the Shaw Conference Centre. The event also raised another $250,000 in donations.
"We were just delighted with the results," said Wally Streit, chair of ticket sales for the dinner and state secretary for the Knights of Columbus. "We certainly exceeded our goal of raising $400,000 and in the final results we are hopeful that it could be as high as $475,000."
He said the money would be a "significant injection of funds" into the pension fund, which has a $2 million unfunded liability.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, was the featured speaker at the event.
Among those who shelled out $300 for the dinner was Angie Cook, CWL president at St. Joseph's Basilica.
"I think our priests really need the support. They are getting old and we have to look after them," Cook said. "They have been there for us and we have to be there for them, make sure they retire gracefully and comfortably."
Brian Day, manager of Campbell Scientific Corporation, attended the dinner with his wife Jane. His firm gave $5,000 to the retirement fund and in return he got two tickets to the gala.
"The priests do a lot for our community and I think it's a shame that their retirement isn't funded," Day said. "They take care of us throughout our lives and so we (Canada Scientific) felt that we should help them; put something back for them."
Mary Molly of St. Joseph's Basilica came to the dinner "because it is important to show support for the priests of the archdiocese who do so much for us."
Her husband David McKinlay concurred. "It is support for a group of people who do good works in the world," he said.
Ouellet, who served as rector of St. Joseph's Seminary in the late 1990s, had kind words for those who have embraced the priesthood and their supporters.
"We believe that priests, ministers of forgiveness and of the Holy Eucharist, bring to the world such a treasure of truth and love that we cannot live without their holy ministry," he said.
"I congratulate you for supporting your priests and ensuring them of a dignified and happy retirement after many years of service. I encourage you also to support your active priests who work hard in much more difficult conditions than in the past. They need your faith, your friendship and your generosity."